Catalysts or Cattle-ists?

I’ve spoken of laundry partners before (I just can’t remember the date, otherwise I’d link to it). When you live in an apartment building, and it’s time to wash your clothes, there’s often one other person (or more, but that’s much rarer) starting the wash cycle in the laundry facility at just the moment you are. From there, you come to meet a half hour later, when the washer is finished, and then another hour later when the dryer is done. Most times, this is an awkward affair because you have to either establish an invisible boundary of obliviousness and complete silence, or come up with something original to say for every rendez-vous. On a normal day, I hate having a laundry partner.

Today’s half-partner (as he was starting his wash as I was starting my dry) was a repeat character from the other time I wrote an entry similar to this (as stated, date unknown) — an elderly gentleman from down the hall on my floor who I know only as Pick 3 Box, because that’s what he buys at my store when he’s in.

“I can’t get the darn washer to take the toonie…” he griped. I had noticed earlier that a couple of the washers had the same problem so I offered him two loonies in exchange. From there he thanked me, tried it, and told me the loonies worked out just fine, in the way that older people use the word ‘fine’ to mean ‘great’. He then told me he was in a rush because his wife, whom I’ve known for a while is very ill, is having a visit from the doctor today. She’s down to 65 lbs from 140. They have her taking morphine for her pancreas. He said he finds himself frustrated a lot lately, despite the optimistic look on his face he wore as he said this. He also mentioned that they’ve been together nearly 60 years.

Now, nobody ever finds that as impressive as I do. But more people really should. Who gets married with the intention of actually sticking through problems anymore, what with the availability of all the internet dating sites? Who actually talks through their issues, and what kind of sap wouldn’t just condescend and demean the person they love, because (replacement) love is just so easy to come by?

Incredible. Sixty years. A man, whose emaciated, weakened wife only really knows his name anymore after her meal replacement, still loves her and makes every effort to understand, empathize, be sensitive to her condition, despite every frustration that he can’t wake up and talk to her and hold her the way he did for more than half a century.

Some people die tragically in war-torn countries. Some people kill themselves because the breakfast they’ve eaten morning-after-morning for 40 years just doesn’t taste right anymore. Some people die alone in a car accident immediately after a fight with someone close to them. And sometimes, once in a rare while, people die after being fortunate enough to have spent 60 years with someone they loved and having made every last effort.

I hope everything works out for those two.

I’ll probably be the breakfast one.

About Nikki

I've been writing since I was in kindergarten where I Crayola-markered an epic tale of a tiger and a balloon on a stack of lined papers folded into a booklet and stapled along the edge (carefully, and by my teacher). I love DIY, sewing, folksy music, animals and getting out to look at and listen to nature.
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